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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DBs burn up the track

It was time for the defensive backs to run their 40s on Tuesday and they didn't disappoint overall.

Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard likely solidified their spots in the first round at the cornerback position.

Gilbert was timed at an ultra-fast 4.37 in the 40 for his official clocking. Considering his ideal 6-0, 202-pound size and excellent tape, he might have locked himself in as the top corner in this draft.

Dennard, the 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner, came into the combine with fears that he wouldn't run well. He did, clocking at an official 4.51, though his hand-held times were both well under that, so some teams might have him faster.

The top two safety prospects both also did fine for bigger guys.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix had an official time of 4.58 at 6-1, 208 pounds with his hand-held times coming in at 4.50 and 4.52.

Louisville's Calvin Pryor, meanwhile, also clocked in officially at 4.58 at 5-11, 207.

Who really helped themselves?

How about Northwest Missouri State's Brandon Dixon (4.41), Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller (4.49), Phillip Gaines of Rice (4.38), Dontae Johnson of North Carolina State (4.45 at 6-2, 200), Jabari Price of North Carolina (4.45) and Jaylen Watkins of Florida (4.41).

Guys who are going to need to redeem themselves at their pro days with better times include Dion Bailey of USC (4.66), Ahmad Dixon of Baylor (4.64), Kenny Ladler of Vanderbilt (4.70) and Louchiez Purifoy of Florida (4.61).


marc said...

I ask out of ignorance, do 40 yard dash times seem to be getting faster as a group or is it just me. I just don't recall so many players coming in with such great times.

Lance said...

I would love it if Golbert were the pick at 15, there are a few others I would be happy about as well. What do we do for OLB? It is sounding more and more like Worilds is gone, I don't think we will match what he gets offered.Hopefully we restructure Woodley, he has a great season, and we draft a prospect we can groom.

BlackNGold said...

Unfortunately after they way he showed out today I don't think he's going to be there at 15.

Dale Lolley said...

Why is it sounding more and more like Worilds is gone? I'm not getting that vibe at all.

Dale Lolley said...

As for 40 times, it seemed like they were sub-40 or over 4.6 for most of the corners. Little in between.

PTownSteelTown said...

Dale, please do an article on our chances of keeping Worilds. Rumors of his pending loss are growing like wildfire, and it would be horrible if it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your opinion at least seems more believable than with you having some semblance of being in the know besides simple numbers and what the Steelers may or may not see as his value.

Steve said...

I think we're looking at someone from the group of Benjamin, Ebron, Nix and maybe Fuller at #15.

Steve-O said...

I like Evans at 15 but if he's gone I like, Gilbert, Pryor, Dennard, Ebron, or Clinton-Dix, in that order. I imagine one of those players will be available at 15 and you can't go wrong with any of them.

Henigin said...

I really hope that if they pick a big WR, they take someone other than Benjamin. If anyone has seen the analysis has done (granted, for fantasy football purposes) on trends of breakout age for college players, you'll know that Benjamin graded out in underwhelming fashion. Additionally, even though he put up good volumes of numbers, he never had over 30% market share of the passing game for FSU (market share = avg of % of total team yds and total team TDs). Elite NFL WRs have trended to have much higher market share, and at an early age.

With all of that said, the Steelers almost always take players who are younger than the average players with their first round pick, so I'd think it unlikely that they take a 23-yr old WR/TE hybrid.

marc said...

I was looking at some mock drafts this morning and what stood out to me the most was the plethora of quality players in the second half of the first round.

how likely is it the steelers try to trade back a bit to pick up an extra pick in a deep draft and still get a quality player?

Anonymous said...


What is your opinion on Paul Soliai, DT from Miami and Alex Carrington, DE from Bills? Might be interesting free agent pickups? Rumor has it that Soliai is being looked over by several teams. Option at NT?

As for the draft, best corner available then safety. IMHO


Dale Lolley said...

I like Carrington a lot. Think he would be an excellent 3-4 defensive end who can rush the passer.

Soliai I'm not as high on, mostly because of his age. He's already 30. He can play, but for how much longer? Those really big guys tend to start breaking down quickly after 30 with knee and back issues.

Eric T said...


Thoughts on recently released FS Thomas DeCoud? While he did seem to struggle a bit last year, it seems his release was more salary cap related.

Anonymous Brian said...

If they're going to lose Worilds because somebody overpays him based on 1/2 season, can't they use the extra cap money to franchise him, then try to work out a deal in the summer after they cut Woodley?

Say they lose Worilds. That leaves Woodley and Jones, on a defense with major pass rush problems. That puts a pass rusher as a top draft priority, too, or should, I think.

I hope drafting a tall reciever is not the priority it has been reported as being. Still have Sweed-itis, and I think it's an overrated need.

Be nice to have a bigger - not necessarily super-tall - receiver in the mix (Boldin is not 6'4", Hines was not tall, how were they in the red zone?) but with the defense in the state it is and the Steelers' success with later round receivers, it just makes me nervous. Think of all the first-round Measurables receivers who were busts.

Anyway would probably rather have Ebron than any of the receivers who will be available.

Henigin said...

Dale - quick question: can you explain why they have to wait until June 1 if they want to cut Woodley and spread the resulting dead cap money over 2014 and 2015? I thought they could cut him now and just designate him as a post-June 1 cut to achieve the same outcome. (or did that go away with the latest CBA?)

Lance said...

There have been several reports that there are several teams that will be in the mix for Worilds services and that he may get a better offer than the Steelers will be willing to match. I hope that does not happen, but the reports are out there. Jason LaCanforna's quote seems the biggest one I have seen that is being circulated. I would hate to lose Worilds a la Keenan Lewis and I hope the front office has learned a lesson, but we will see. I do not have faith in Woodley, just too many missed games over the last 2 1/2 seasons, unless he takes a big paycut, he needs to go IMO.

Dale Lolley said...

Even if they designate Woodley as a post-June 1 cut, that only allows him to become a a free agent when he's released. His salary remains on the books for the Steelers until June 1.

The Steelers still have a couple of weeks to work out a deal with Worilds. They will start making some moves soon.

I like DeCoud

Henigin said...

Thanks for the response on the June 1 question. That kind of sucks for the player, because he can't find another team until then and FA dollars are likely mostly used up for most teams by then.

Dale Lolley said...

Actually he can find another team. That is the benefit for the player. But his money stays on the books until June 1.

Dale Lolley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

When did Worilds become the next Lawrence Taylor? Let some other team overpay for his services and use the cash to extend Heyward next year.

Dale Lolley said...

What does one have to do with the other?
They'll have plenty of free cash next year to extend Heyward.

Tom said...

Steelers may no longer be wading the waters of "cap hell". NBC is reporting today that a league source has stated the cap will go up to $135 million. If this is true what's more likely; the Steelers overpay Worilds, or let him walk and sign an impact FA starter for the defense?

Dale Lolley said...

They will re-sign Worilds. They're not going to let him walk.

And why is it overpay, anyway?

It's what the market dictates for a promising young pass rusher, especially for a team that's lacking in pass rushers.

McFadden 41 said...

Fans are ridiculous sometimes...they want everybody signed on the cheap and every player the teams passes on in the draft is a sure fire, can't miss prospect.

I wish they could have signed Lewis too, but they didn't. Not the end of the world. I'm taking the novel approach of waiting to see how things play out. This is a seemingly deep draft at positrons of need so let's see how it plays out. I don't expect a super bowl, but I think the playoffs are a reasonable expectation if the quarter back doesn't pout and whine and if some young players make the jump.

marc said...

dale, you know full well by now that just because the market dictates a certain price it can be well more than that player's actual "value". mike wallace ring a bell? or do I need to go back through the years of exorbitantly over paid FA's.

I expect they will resign worilds. Woodley is too much of an unknown to speculate, but my guess is that he is in black and gold for next season.

dale, are there any FA's you hope they they sign?

kyle said...

Not exactly, marc.

The market price is the player's "value." And that value isn't really shown until after the contract is signed and the player performs (or underperforms) for a few years.

We all don't like how much Woodley is getting paid but we wouldn't feel that way if he were an all pro the last three years and led the league in sacks. They won't have overpaid for Worilds until they pay him and he doesn't live up to expectations. Just as they won't have gotten a deal if they pay him the market value and he outperforms it.

marc said...

yes, kyle, it is certainly all about perception and anticipated performance at the time of signing and that is what I am referencing. once a player performs in the years following, only then can you definitively determine whether they were overpaid or not.

however, as dale has often said in the past, it only takes one or two crazy GM's to jack up a player's asking price in FA. if one GM pays, for example, 15% higher than all other offers, then that player is overpaid based on prevailing opinions.

in Woodley's case, I was shocked when they signed him to that contract. I certainly did not predict his injury problems or even that he would become less productive. but rather, to make that much of an investment to that position on the defense made no sense to me. and that contract has been hurting them ever since.

I think they will pay whatever the market dictates for worilds, thanks to the higher cap, and we will have to hope he continues to produce.

kyle said...

I understand your point moreso now. I guess your example of Wallace threw me as the Dolphins reportedly were outbid by the Vikings but Wallace wanted to play in Miami. He certainly wasn't worth his salary this past season and most Steeler fans were so fed up with him that any amount of money was going to seem like overpayment but the fact is, he was a productive player for most of his time in Pittsburgh and has top end speed at a position where that matters so his market value was met.

I think the intrinsic value of players is impossible to determine, particularly before the fact. At some point, Russell Wilson is going to get paid much more than any player on Seattle's defense even though, to my eyes, he is not as important to their success.

I wasn't shocked by the money Woodley got from the Steelers. Pass-rushers make a lot of money. I was surprised they paid as much as they did to Woodley and Timmons at the same time. I understood wanting to lock down two younger linebackers who were playing quite well but as we've seen, they've had trouble the last couple of years partly because of that.

So I think we agree on that point. Although, I'd say in Woodley's defense, he had earned his money at that point, whereas Timmons hadn't. So it's interesting to me that Timmons has played better since (mostly due to injuries perhaps).

McFadden 41 said...

Well said Kyle. Figuring out exactly how much a player is worth isn't easy. And the most agonizing Pratt is that we usually don't know if they're worth it until after they've been signed.